Slurry pumps are essential for moving hard-to-handle, high solids-content fluids, and sludge, and annual demand for these pumps reflects just one aspect of the significant space they occupy in several industry sectors.
The global market for all types of slurry pumps is estimated at well more than a billion dollars each year, and although those sales represent only a single-digit portion of overall pump sales, slurry pumping costs take up a lot of space in mining’s collective energy budget.
Process equipment suppliers estimated that mining slurry pumps account for only about 5% of centrifugal pumps the most common type used for this purpose – installed throughout the mining industry, yet this small segment represents up to 80% of the industry’s total operational pumping costs.
The space they physically inhabit in a mining operation is typically harsh at the bottom of a sump, a prep plant or thickener-underflow discharge point, or serving a pipeline carrying abrasive slurry. Their duty cycles range from continuous to sporadic depending on the application, often with highly variable flow rates and particle sizes.
Internal wear can be severe in some applications, with as much as 2 mm of material a day disappearing from crucial component surfaces. Due to the increased probability of high wear rates from the materials being transported, pump builders add thicker, heavier components and/or internal liners, making slurry models larger and heavier than their water-pump brethren.